Fall is here! Back to school, football season, and cooler weather. Below are some suggested titles for you this month.
Melissa – Reference
David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell, Nonfiction 155. 24 Gla
In Gladwell’s latest book, he once again offers to readers perspectives on life that they may not have considered. He opens with the biblical story of David and Goliath, wherein David’s courage has become legendary, and David is the ultimate underdog to the fierce giant warrior Goliath. But who was the real underdog? When taking a closer look at the warriors and rules of engagement during that time, it is Goliath who didn’t stand a chance against David. Goliath entered the valley, calling out, “Come face me!” He literally means for another foot soldier (like himself) to do battle in a fair fight; not a soldier on horseback, and not a slinger solider (i.e., soldiers known for slinging rocks with as much force as a modern bullet). Even King Saul acknowledges this rule, as he tries to place armor on David. Yet once David goes running into the valley, everyone watching realizes that though David has not had any formal training, he is in fact a slinger. He broke the accepted rules of war, wherein two soldiers of the same category do battle to spare many other deaths. Gladwell opens with this story to get readers’ attention, and it works. He encourages readers to look more closely at perceived disadvantages, including amongst those with dyslexia, lack of experience, and difficult childhoods. The thread that ties all these stories together is the message to never give up on your goals, even in the face of tough obstacles.
3 Idiots, starring Aamir Khan and R. Madhavan, DVD 3 Idiots
This foreign film captures the academic struggles of three Indian friends as each strives to be successful and make their families proud by becoming engineers. Aside from the difficult curriculum, the friends face other obstacles, including lack of passion and a vengeful dean. Though it is both funny and darkly serious, it sends a great message for all those struggling to find their paths in life or facing difficulty in school. We should learn for the sake of learning, because our world is fantastic and full of wonders. To be able to explore its intricacies is a privilege, not a chore. And for those deciding a career path, to choose what you love. If you’re passionate and enthusiastic about your career, success is much easier to obtain.
Sue – Circulation
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, Fiction Coplin
When this novel opens around the year 1900, William Talmadge has worked in his orchard for 40-odd years. He raises apples and apricots in Washington State. His mother, sister, and he settled there when he was a child. His mother passed away when he was still young and he lost his sister tragically when she was a young woman. He now lives a solitary life with a couple of close friends, Caroline, the local midwife and herbalist, and Clee, a Native American who visits the orchard each year while moving horses for auction. Talmadge is a gentle and compassionate man, never healed over the loss of his sister, so when two runaway teenagers, both pregnant, steal some fruit from him, he begins feeding them and trying to care for them. The girls have run away from an abusive man and so are very timid around Talmadge, but warily accept his help. Over the next two decades, we see how Talmadge’s relationship with the girls and their offspring develops and where their lives take them. This is a beautiful novel, slowly paced, with evocative language and a lush setting in a valley of the Pacific Northwest surrounded by mountains, that contemplates the meaning of family and the sacrifices we make for those we love.
The World to Come by Dara Horn, Fiction Horn
This very original and compelling novel begins with the discovery that Ben, newly divorced and mourning the loss of his mother, has just stolen a Chagall painting worth $1 million from a Jewish art museum. While at the museum, Ben recognized the painting as one that used to hang in his parents living room when he was a child. He stole the painting on a whim after realizing there was no security and he was alone with it in the museum. Ben feels that he has a right to the painting and shares what he has done with his twin sister. Of late, Ben has been down on himself and life in general and his sister fears he’s finally cracked. She tries to convince him to return it. Things get more complicated when the museum begins investigating the theft and the investigator figures out that Ben is the likely culprit. As the story goes on, we learn about Ben’s parents and grandparents. His family is Jewish of Russian descent and we are taken back in time to the early 20th century where we meet Chagall at a time when he was teaching orphans in Russia, learning how Ben’s family came to be in possession of the painting. The story delves into three generations of family history, showing us the suffering of Jewish families in Russia in the first half of the 20th century. Although fiction, the book provides historically accurate information about Russia and Jewish persecution in that time period and information about the Jewish faith. It also references the works of numerous actual Yiddish authors from the early 20th century who were lost as a result of pogroms against Jews.
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler, New Fiction Butler
This heartfelt novel follows the lives of several childhood friends from a small farming community in Wisconsin as events occur that affect their relationships. Henry is the soul of the book, a kind-hearted, decent man who runs his family’s dairy farm. Henry is married to Beth, his high school sweetheart, and they have two children. Lee became a rich and famous rock star, but he loves his hometown and is loyal to it and his childhood friends. He and Henry are best friends, though their lives have taken them in completely opposite directions. Henry is a struggling farmer devoted to his wife and children, rarely venturing outside town limits, while Lee dates Hollywood actresses and travels the world. Ronny was a successful rodeo rider until an accident caused by his excessive drinking left him mentally impaired. Lee is very protective of Ronny and they are like brothers. Kip left their hometown and became wealthy working as a stockbroker in Chicago, but has now come back to his hometown to be married and live there with his new wife while trying to renovate the town’s old mill that has been closed for years. Each chapter of the book is narrated by one of the five friends, which allows for a richer understanding of each character and their relationships with each other. The book is a tribute to lifelong friendships. It celebrates sticking by your friends even amidst all the changes that life brings, and living true to your values. It is also a homage to small-town life in the Midwest: though some of the characters leave town and find success, they are drawn back to the land. The town itself is a major character in the book – for each character, the people that they have become has been shaped by their early lives in the town and the influence of small-town values and traditions.
Mary – Youth Services
More Than This by Patrick Ness, YA Fiction Ness
There are few YA authors as talented at Patrick Ness, and chances are, you haven’t heard of him. Grabbing up one young adult fiction award after another, Patrick Ness is a hidden YA treasure, and always a joy to share because of his veiled, yet immense talent. Ness’ newest novel, More Than This
, begins with a boy named Seth, drowning. Where it takes you is a world that isn’t exactly heaven, nor hell. And its implications are terrifying. More Than This
is a treasure in existential literature, with great depth and humanity. A compelling, extraordinary book from an author with unparalleled talent and skill. Check out a Patrick Ness book. You’ll be glad you did.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, YA Fiction Brunt
It’s 1987, and fourteen year-old June Albus has lost her uncle – her best friend and mentor – to a disease her parents will not even speak of. Amid loss and confusion, June sets out to find pieces of her uncle’s life left behind, and in the process of doing so, comes to meet a strange man, who lingers at her Uncle Finn’s funeral. This stranger, Toby, requests a meeting with June, and convinces her he has worthwhile information regarding her Uncle Finn. Through these meetings between June and Toby, they both learn more about the man who mattered most to them in life, and in turn struggle to accept their different ways of seeing the same person, now lost. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a phenomenal book that perfectly touches upon confusing first affections, and that unnamable love we have for those who have shaped, and altered our lives.
Michelle – Administration
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 by Various Artists, CD 781.542 Guardians
Whether or not you’ve seen the movie yet (and I highly recommend that you do), any music lover will enjoy this eclectic mix of hits from the 70’s, including Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love and many others.
Sabotage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, DVD Sabotage
From the writer/director of End of Watch, this gritty crime drama leads you through tons of twists and turns before finally dropping you at the end credits. The story follows a team of DEA agents as they battle outside forces and each other. A note of warning: this movie is not for the faint of heart and more than earns its R rating. The cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, Sam Worthington, Josh Holloway, and Joe Manganiello.
Spring is on its way. Here’s some things to check out!
Michelle – Administration
Straight A’s – Starring Anna Pacquin, Ryan Phillipe, Luke Wilson – NEW DVD: DVD STRAIGHT A’S
Staring Anna Pacquin, Ryan Phillipe and Luke Wilson, this engaging, character driven family drama has great acting and an unexpected plot twist.
Cry Wolf – By: Patricia Briggs – NEW FICTION: Briggs
A fun romp through the forest with a new werewolf pack. This is an entertaining, light read for those who enjoy the supernatural genre. It is the first book in the series and includes the novella that started everything.
Matt – Circulation
Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes – By: Maria Konnikova – NEW NONFICTION: 153.4 KON
This is a great book for people who want to de-clutter their mind and start thinking more purposefully. In her book Konnikova ( a science and psychology writer) focuses on the techniques used by the greatest fictional detective of all time to help regular people learn to streamline their thinking. A good read for people who like Holmes and those just looking to see the world a different way.
Stranger Than Fiction– Starring: Will Farrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal – DVD: STRANGER..
A superbly absurd comedy about a man who finds himself the center of a living novel. Will Farrell plays Harold Crick: an IRS adjuster who lives a very orderly life until he starts to hear narration of his thoughts and actions. It is when Harold learns the author of his book likes to kill her main characters, that Harold decides to live the life he’s always wanted. A funny and touching movie.
In Treatment – Season 1 – Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Forbes – DVD: IN TREATMENT
In Treatment is about therapist Paul Weston as he tries to help his patients and keep his own life in order. The format follows 4 different patients and Paul’s session with his own therapist giving each session its own 30-minute episode. In this episode format its possible to watch the progression of one patient at a time or watch all the sessions in the same week. It was a very daring and well done series full of questions about the fragility of the human condition and how people cope with difficulties in their lives.
Julia – Circulation
– By: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – CD 781.649 MACKLEMORE
In Macklemore’s debut, full-length album, The Heist, he showcases songs about his personal struggles with addiction, in “Starting Over,” as well as touches on social and race issues with “Wing$” and “A Wake”. His fifth and most popular radio single from this album, “Thrift Shop”, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This is a must-listen-to cd, because every song is different from the one before it. If you’ve only heard “Thrift Shop” on the radio, get ready to hear some really amazing, and completely unique indie rap and hip hop.
Check back in next month for more!